The House of The Dead

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a game by Sega
Platform: PC
Editor Rating: 7/10, based on 2 reviews
User Rating: 7.3/10 - 43 votes
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See also: Horror Games, Old School Games, The House of The Dead Series
The House of The Dead
The House of The Dead
The House of The Dead

The original House of the Dead was a massive hit when it hit arcades in the mid to late 90s. The game was eventually ported to the Sega Saturn and the PC and while it may not be as impressive as the games that would follow. I do feel that it is a very important game in video game history as this is a franchise that is still going to this day.

The Mad Scientist

Say what you will about the terrible voice acting and the campy plot of this series, but I freaking love it! The story of the game centers around two agents called, Thomas Rogan and G. They are sent to investigate the work of a crazy SOB scientist called, Dr. Curien who has been creating all kinds of monsters! The plot is a lot of fun and I love how in the early House of the Dead games they play it completely straight!

The Blocky Red Stuff

The original arcade game is not a bad looker to be fair, but when the game was ported to the Sega Saturn and then the PC, let’s just say that Sega did not have their A-team working on this. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure they let someone else develop this and it shows. I am sure the Sega Saturn could have run this game fine with the right team behind it. However, what we got is a game that is very hard to look at. House of the Dead has some very blocky and I mean blocky looking monsters, characters, and even the blood!

The game moves at a quick pace so to be fair it is not hugely noticeable. However, it can be distracting some times. The soundtrack though is pretty awesome with some stuff rearranged from what the arcade offered. The voice acting? Well, it is bad, but so bad I find it good.

Shoot Them In The Head!

I would wager that you the reader (yes, I am breaking the fourth wall here!) knows what the gameplay of House of the Dead is by this point. The game is a light gun shooter and a pretty solid one at that. Each level has you blowing away wave after wave of monsters. You also have moments where you can save people too. It is a very challenging game, but also a fun one too, and one that I think is great in small bursts.

There are different paths you can take through the game and different endings. So, while the core game is very short, it does have a lot of replay value. It is just very rough around the edges. There is also a boss rush mode that has been added, but I do feel that with the later games in the series, Sega got it right with adding in extra modes. If you play on PC, you use the mouse, but if you can track down the rare Sega Saturn version, you can play with a light gun.

I must admit that even if House of the Dead was a pixel-perfect arcade port that I still would probably rank it as the weakest in the series. This is not a “horrible” game, but the fact the home port looks so ugly is what really cements its place as the weakest in the home ports of this series. I do still feel it is worth checking out so that you can see where this series began and it is still a pretty fun time.

7

Final Score

Pros:

  • I liked the campy story
  • Lots of monsters to kill
  • You can play with a light gun on the Sega Saturn
  • The voice acting is so bad it is awesome
  • You have a reason to play through the game multiple times

Cons:

  • The game was clearly rushed through development
  • It is a very ugly game

Download The House of The Dead

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Have you ever thought what it would be like to star in a Hammer horror movie? If the answer is yes, you can consider your life now officially complete. Sega have managed to wrap their Model-2-powered arcade game Virtua Cop, which has already seen a PC release, around a Resident Evil-style scenario.

The obligatory mansion house and chemical labs are intact, replete with diseased animated corpses and rabid undead dogs. House Of The Dead is an 'on-rails' shoot 'em up, which means you go where the camera takes you and shoot anything that comes at you. If you're unfamiliar with the style of play, preferring instead the freedom of something like Quake, then you'll probably hate the constricting nature. This game requires nothing but quick reactions; Quake at least requires instinct and cunning.

However, there are certain points in levels where your actions determine which 'rail' you will take. For example, the first bridge you come to on level one sees a zombie carrying one of the scientists towards the edge with the intention of throwing him over the side. If you manage to take out the zombie without killing the scientist, he is dropped to the floor and gives you one extra life, and you then proceed across the bridge and into the mansion. If you are too late, however, he is flung over the bridge. You then have to travel down a set of stairs only to see him disfigured on the brick floor, mumbling to himself.

Arcade Machine At Home

Like most arcade-to-home translations, House Of The Dead has the inherent problem of being a bit on the short side. Although the various routes do give some variety throughout the game, it's not one of those games that you'll either play for months on end or come back to time and time again. If you've spent enough time and money on previous versions, you'll probably complete the game in a couple of hours.

And if you were hoping to get in on some two-player, split-screen action, forget it. The unlucky keyboard-playing participant will not be happy.

If you have a Direct3D-compatible video card, House Of The Dead looks very close to its arcade counterpart. Walking into the huge mansion house, guns ablaze and tearing undead minions apart has never looked so good. Blast an axe-wielding zombie in the arm and not only will he drop the axe, but his whole arm will also drop with it!

Although the 3D models look and move well, the 2D sprites can sometimes look a bit odd. You'll remember in Doom when you looked at a dead body and moved 180 degrees around it, only to find it facing the same direction. Well that raises its ugly head in the form of trees and bushes in this game, giving the backdrops a 'cardboard'-like appearance.

The addition of a 'PC Mode' enables you to change characters you play as in the arcade game, and each has different attributes: for example, one character may give more damage per shot but have a smaller hit radius.

One thing you have to keep in mind is not to tinker about with the 'auto-reload' option. This, in effect, relaxes the need for you to reload your weapon once you've fired off a particular weapon's payload, thus making the game much easier to complete.

All in all, this is a top-class conversion of a top-class game. You won't get spectators in the background cheering you on, and the mouse is no substitute for a fake plastic gun. But if you liked the Virtua Cop series you should lap this up. House of the Dead is a fine addition to a genre that's most at home in windswept beachfront arcades.

Snapshots and Media

PC Screenshots

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